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Milk

The Biology of Lactation

Michael L. Power and Jay Schulkin

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Everything you ever wanted to know about the substance that binds all mammals together.

After drawing its first breath, every newborn mammal turns his or her complete attention to obtaining milk. This primal act was once thought to stem from a basic fact: milk provides the initial source of calories and nutrients for all mammalian young. But it turns out that milk is a much more complicated biochemical cocktail and provides benefits beyond nutrition. In this fascinating book, biologists Michael L. Power and Jay Schulkin reveal this liquid’s evolutionary history and show how its ingredients have…

Everything you ever wanted to know about the substance that binds all mammals together.

After drawing its first breath, every newborn mammal turns his or her complete attention to obtaining milk. This primal act was once thought to stem from a basic fact: milk provides the initial source of calories and nutrients for all mammalian young. But it turns out that milk is a much more complicated biochemical cocktail and provides benefits beyond nutrition. In this fascinating book, biologists Michael L. Power and Jay Schulkin reveal this liquid’s evolutionary history and show how its ingredients have changed over many millions of years to become a potent elixir. Power and Schulkin walk readers through the early origins of the mammary gland and describe the incredible diversification of milk among the various mammalian lineages.

After revealing the roots of lactation, the authors describe the substances that naturally occur in milk and discuss their biological functions. They reveal that mothers pass along numerous biochemical signals to their babies through milk. The authors explain how milk boosts an infant’s immune system, affects an infant’s metabolism and physiology, and helps inoculate and feed the baby’s gut microbiome.

Throughout the book, the authors weave in stories from studies of other species, explaining how comparative research sheds light on human lactation. The authors then turn their attention to the fascinating topic of cross-species milk consumption—something only practiced by certain humans who evolved an ability to retain lactase synthesis into adulthood. The first book to discuss milk from a comparative and evolutionary perspective, Power and Schulkin’s masterpiece reveals the rich biological story of the common thread that connects all mammals.

Reviews

Reviews

The book provides a unique lens for understanding milk and the processes involved in producing milk. It is well written and highly readable. It will be of value both to experts in the field as well as to novices looking for an encompassing overview.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
296
ISBN
9781421420424
Illustration Description
7 b&w photos, 14 line drawings
Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
Part I. The Birth of Milk
Chapter 1. Feeding Off spring
Chapter 2. Origins
Chapter 3. The Molecules of Milk
Chapter 4. Prolactin and Oxytocin
Part II. Milk as a Food
Chapter 5. Not Quite

Preface
Introduction
Part I. The Birth of Milk
Chapter 1. Feeding Off spring
Chapter 2. Origins
Chapter 3. The Molecules of Milk
Chapter 4. Prolactin and Oxytocin
Part II. Milk as a Food
Chapter 5. Not Quite Perfection
Chapter 6. The Milk Spectrum
Chapter 7. Lactation Strategies
Part III. More Than Food
8. Milk Protects
Chapter 9. Milk Guides
Chapter 10. Milk Regulates
Chapter 11. Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
Part IV. Our Mother's Milk
Chapter 12. Milk and Human Evolution
Chapter 13. Breastfeeding, History, and Health
References
Index

Author Bios
Featured Contributor

Michael L. Power, Ph.D.

Michael L. Power is a senior research associate at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and an animal scientist at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park.
Featured Contributor

Jay Schulkin, Ph.D.

Jay Schulkin is a research professor of physiology and biophysics at Georgetown University and research associate at the Clinical Neuroendocrinology Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health. He is also the director of research at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.